Riga is the capital of Latvia.
The House of Blackheads in Riga's Town Square.
The 700,000 inhabitants of Riga make up one-third of the population of Latvia and makes it the largest city in the Baltic States.
Riga is famous for its Old Town (Vecrīga) and city center (Centrs), in which over 800 buildings are of the Art Nouveau (aka Jugendstil) style of architecture. The old town of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Art Nouveau style involves intricate building facades, with carvings of flowers and mythological creatures, and ornate doorways and windows. Much of the old town was either destroyed by fire or destroyed by the Germans in World War II and remained in ruins until it was rebuilt in the late 1990s, mainly to make Riga attractive as a tourist destination.
Riga is also popular due to its nightlife and discount airlines that offer cheap flights to/from much of Europe.
Riga is bisected by the river Daugava. Old (medieval) town is in the center of the city on the east side of the river. It is surrounded by a ring of ~19th -- early 20th century architecture, followed by a mix of private 2-floor house districts (many also pre-WW2) and Soviet-era 5-18 floor apartment districts, with an occasional factory (especially near railroad lines). The term "centre" loosely refers to quite a large area around Old town limited by the river to the west, the railroad lines to the east and south, and without a definite boundary to the north.
View of Riga towards the cathedral and Vanšu Bridge.
Riga was founded in 1201 by Albert of Bremen as a port city and a base to conquer and convert the native Livonians to Christianity, a goal that was achieved in 1206 after a battle in Turaida during the Northern Crusades. Riga developed as the major trade hub of the area during the peak of the Hanseatic League in the 13th to the 15th centuries and was ruled by the Archbishop of Riga. The Reformation reached Riga in 1522, which ended the Archbishops' power. In 1621, Riga became part of the Kingdom of Sweden, although it maintained a great deal of autonomy. In 1710, an invasion by Peter the Great of Russia ended Swedish rule and cemented Russian influence on the city.
Latvia declared its independence on November 18, 1918, although it was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. Riga became the capital of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic until Latvian independence in 1991.
Germans have inhabited the city since its establishment by Albert, and throughout most of its history Germans were the elite while Latvians remained a lower class. Their position as the elite continued through the Imperial period of Riga. As such, much of the architecture in Riga has been heavily influenced by Germany. The Germans were forcibly evicted after the Nazi occupation of 1941-44.
The official language of Latvia is Latvian; however, in Riga, the majority of the population speaks both Latvian and Russian. English is widely spoken by younger people and by people in the tourism industry. German is also commonly spoken by tour guides.
Riga International Airport ('Starptautiskā Lidosta Rīga' in Latvian) (IATA: RIX) (ICAO: EVRA) is located 10km southwest of Riga. The airport serves approximately 5 million passengers per year.
Most flights to/from Riga are operated by the discount carriers Air Baltic, Ryan Air, and Wizz Air.
There are designated areas in the airport where smoking is allowed.
To travel between the airport to the city:
- Bus 22 and Expressbus #322 run between the airport and the old town, with a stop near the central bus and railway stations and Minibus #241 runs between the airport and Esplanāde, at the north end of the old town. These buses operate as any other public transport in Riga; see Riga#Get_around for more information on riding the buses. The journey to the old town takes 30-40 minutes. The last buses leave the airport at 0:05, or 23:40 on Saturday, Sunday, and holiday. The bus stop is located opposite the entrance of the terminal. There is a ticket machine at the bus stop or tickets can be bought at the Narvessen shop near the TGI Friday's at the departure level in the airport. Note that day and multi-day passes are not valid on the minibuses.
- Baltic Taxi runs taxi service from the airport to the centre for a fixed price of €15 if booked online or via metered rates if paid to the driver. Service to the old town takes 15 minutes.
- "Red Cab" Taxi offers metered taxi services from the airport. A journey to the city center costs approximately €12 and the ride takes 15 minutes, depending on the traffic. Wheelchair accessible mini vans are available but must be pre-ordered.
- Personal Minibus offers airport transfer for groups. The price of €8 per person (6 person minimum) also includes guide to meet group with a greeting sign.
- Regular Taxis can be expensive if a meter is used and a fixed price is not negotiated. Charges are as follows: €2.10 for embarkation plus €0.70/km; waiting costs €8.50/h. The ride to the centre takes 15 minutes.
Airport Shuttle, that used to run to several hotels, was cancelled in ca. 2015.
Until 2017 only Red Cab (red) and Baltic Taxi (light-green) (pricy, but comfortable, clean and professional) were allowed to wait for the passengers at the airport, but now any registered taxi can do that. Most of these would now be pretty dodgy old cars, charging extremely high prices (Riga-registered companies can charge max. 2.14 EUR/km, while these would charge 3). Therefore it's better either to wait a bit in the line to get a Red Cab or Baltic Taxi (in worst case - low-coster black-yellow Panda Taxi, which generally enjoys mixed attitude), or to use Baltic Taxi stand inside the arrivals hall, or to use the Taxify application (Estonian and Latvian analogue of Uber). General rule should be to avoid black cars with longer company names on white ovals, and of course always to look at the price (the table includes price for embarkment, waiting, per km), that should be listed on rear door.
Warning! As of March 21st, 2018, the Higher Court of Latvia has ruled that the tariffs of taxis cannot be regulated therefore taxis can now charge whatever they want, as long as the rates are displayed on the car. Please be aware of this, as some of the smaller companies or individual taxi drivers are now charging up to 40-50 euros for the ride to city center, instead of the usual 12-15 euros. The bigger companies, such as Baltic Taxi, Red Cab or Panda are still keeping sensible rates, so do look at the rates displayed on the car and don't be intimidated to pick the first car you see.
There are international bus connections to anywhere in Europe, including frequent service to Tallinn and Tartu in Estonia, and Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania.
- Ecolines - operates service between Riga and most major cities in Europe.
- Eurolines Simple Express - operates service between Riga and most major cities in the Baltics, as well as a few other European capitals. Buses to Tallinn cost €13 and buses to Vilnius cost €11.
- Eurolines Lux Express - More legroom than Simple Express service & free coffee. Buses to Tallinn or Vilnius cost €15-28. Buses to Saint Petersburg cost €35.
- Flybus - Service between Riga and the airports of Kaunas and Vilnius. More expensive than Simple Express so only useful if you want a direct connection to the airport.
- PolskiBus - Operates daily buses to/from Warsaw, Tallinn, and Vilnius.
Tallink operates a daily ferry service between Stockholm and Riga. The journey takes 17 hours. Prices are usually around €100.
Latvian Railways operates service to many cities in Latvia, including the suburbs of Riga, as well as a few cities in Russia, Belarus, and Estonia. You can book tickets online via the Latvian Railways site up to 45 days in advance, but tickets must be collected from a station in Latvia, with the exception of tickets to Moscow and Saint Petersburg which can be issued as e-tickets in both directions.
Trains depart for the 16-hour overnight journey to Moscow daily (except New Year's Eve) at 16:45 with an additional train departing at 18:10 from May to September. The overnight trip costs €36-205 depending on service level.
Trains depart for the 15-hour overnight journey to St. Petersburg daily (except New Year's Eve) at 18:35. The overnight trip costs €30-175 depending on service level.
Limited trains operate between Riga and Valga, Estonia. From Valga, connections can be made to other cities in Estonia including Tallinn. However, it is much easier to travel to Estonia by bus.
Riga has good road connections with Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus. Riga is on the Via Baltica and ~300km from both Tallinn and Vilnius. Note that in the city center, you have to pay a fee for public parking which varies depending from distance to center.
Cars are now allowed in the Old Town, although parking charges there are very high.
Old Town is comprised mainly of rounded cobblestone streets that may be hard to walk on if you are not wearing proper shoes. Outside of Old Town, most streets are paved with asphalt, although some smaller streets may be unpaved. Sidewalks are predominantly concrete everywhere. Old Town is best explored on foot. Due to the neglected drainage system, the streets may be flooded during heavy downpours.
By public transport
The city-owned Rigas Satiksme operates the trams (street-cars), buses, minibuses, and trolleybuses. They all use the same e-ticket system called e-talons. A single fare covers a ride on any one route independent of the distance - i.e. a transfer requires payment of 2 fares. However, if you enter a vehicle with the same route and in the same direction within one hour, your ticket is still valid and will not be charged again. The Rigas Satiksme website provides a great interface for planning a trip within Riga.
Single fares are €2.00 during at all times if paid onboard to the driver (cash only, exact change preferred) or €1.15 for bus/tram/trolleybus/minibus trips if a reloadable e-talon card is purchased in advance from a ticket office, vending machine, press kiosk, Narvesen shop, or other location listed on the Rigas Satiksme website. A 5 ride ticket costs €5.75, 10 rides are €10.90, and 20 rides are €20.70. Also available are tickets for 2 trips for 2 people costing €4.60 and 2 trips for 3 people costing €6.90. Unlimited ride 24-hour cards cost €5.00, 3-calendar-day cards cost €10, and 5-calendar-day cards cost €15. The cards all are activated by using the yellow device in the vehicles. Note that you must activate all cards every time that you enter a vehicle. The Riga Card allows the holder to travel free on public transportation.
Tram lines are numbered 1-11; bus lines are numbered 1-55; trolley bus lines are numbered 1-27. Minibus lines have numbers 200-280. Night buses are numbered N1-N10. While the numbers are similar, the routes are completely different - i.e. bus #2 is totally different than trolleybus #2. Tram numbers on stops are identified by "Tr", buses (not trolleybuses) by "A". Stops are marked by a blue rectangular sign with a stylized white image of the vehicle and lists the numbers that stop there. Timetables and stops of the route are also usually posted at stops and are fairly accurate. Note that bus routes are marked "A", but tram and trolley bus routes are both marked "T" on timetables, except tram timetables should have red background for the "T" letter and trolley bus—yellow. With the exception of minibuses, the vehicles include an LCD screen with next stop information.
Trams are generally the fastest public transportation apart from trains. Although they are on street level and the rails are not physically separated from the rest of the traffic, in all but the busiest rush hours they have the right of way. Minibuses are smaller and thus more maneuverable than buses and trolley buses, making them the second-fastest mode of transport.
SIXT Latvia operates self-service bicycle rentals at numerous bicycle stands across the city. The service is available to both residents and guests of Riga. You must have a mobile phone to register, but registration is free. The bikes have 3 speeds and lights, but no helmets. The cost is €0.90 per 30 minutes, with a maximum of €9 per day. Alternatively, ask your hotel if they provide bicycle rental.
The way to hire a taxi is to use the online phone apps such as Taxify or ClickTaxi which allows you to see the rates being charged, time to pickup and pay with the credit card.
If you hail a random taxi on the street, be aware that the taxi may not follow the most direct route and may use a meter rate that will significantly overcharge you.
There are several car rental offices in Riga airport as well as in other parts of the town. You can even rent a cheap soviet style car. However, traffic can be extremely slow, especially on the bridges, and parking in old town can cost up to €10/hour.
Driving drunk is considered a serious law violation. Besides high fines and seized driving license one may easily end up serving 10-15 days in an administrative arrest. Maximum alcohol contents in the blood must not exceed 0.5. There are plenty of police patrols and it is very common to be stopped for an alcohol test.
Boat service is available during the months of May to September from/to Jurmala. The boats stop in Riga stop near the Stone Bridge (Akmens Tilts), which is right next to the House of Blackheads/Riga Tourist Information Centre, in the old town. The trip costs €15-20 and takes 2.5 hours, which is obviously much slower and more expensive than train service.
The view southeast from St. Peter's Church in Riga's Old Town
Riga art nouveau building
The Riga Card, which costs €16-€26, has discounts for museums and some tourist attractions.
The areas usually most interesting to tourists are the Old Town and the area around the nearby Freedom Monument. However, Old town is not the only place worth visiting. Very old and well preserved city districts unvisited by tourists are Agenskalns and Tornakalns, just over the Stone bridge. The residential areas outside Riga center are largely made up of gray apartment blocks built in the typically Soviet style. These areas are nearly identical to those all over Eastern Europe. However, they do give an idea of how the vast majority of the people in Riga live and of the history of the area.
The tourist office, located inside the House of Blackheads, offers both guided tours and free pamphlets, complete with detailed descriptions of many buildings, for independent walks. These walks cover the old town and the nearby city center sights as well as the Art Nouveau district. It's all pretty small scale so it's easy to do each of these in around an hour, or linger and read every detail in the booklet - in the absence of any signs or plaques around the city, the booklet gives you an insight to what you are seeing.
Many private companies offer organized tours of Riga. Options include bike tours, Segway tours, pub crawls, hop-on-hop-off bus tours, walking tours, and tours focused on a certain aspect of Riga - away from the touristy old town. Riga Free Tour operates a free city walking tour that departs everyday from St Peters Church at 12:00. Look for a yellow suitcase.
Historical buildings and monuments
Daugava river and central Riga
- Statue of Roland, (In the center of the Town Square). edit
- House of Blackheads, 1 kalku iela, ☎ +371 67044300, . The House of Blackheads is where the merchants-to-be had their guild. Part of this building is the tourist information office, the rest is a fascinating museum. The upper levels house grand ballrooms while the basement has a wine cellar and several exhibits relating to trading in Riga. €3, €1.50 students. (latitude,) edit
- Town Hall. Pretty to look at, but not open for visitors. edit
- The Big Guild, 6 Amatu iela. Housed the guild of the tradesmen, who would join after being a member of the Blackheads (see House of Blackheads). Home to the Latvian Philharmonic, but you can't just walk inside. It's the exterior that's worth seeing though. edit
- The Little Guild, 5 Amatu iela. Another pretty building just behind the Big Guild, this one housed the craftsmen's guild. Like the Big Guild, you can't go inside except for a performance. edit
- The House of the Black Cat, Next to the Big Guild. This building (also housing a pub of no particular note) is most famous for the two statues of black cats on the roofs. The legend has it that a disgruntled tradesman who was not accepted into the Big Guild, built this house and put the cats on it with their tails pointing towards the Big Guild, thus expressing his scorn. edit
- Wagner Concert Hall, 4 Vāgnera iela, . Wagner once lived in Riga, on the street now named after him. This hall where he performed occasionally holds concerts. edit
- The Three Brothers, 17, 19, and 21 Mazā Pils iela, . 9AM - 5PM TUE-THUR, 9AM - 4PM Fri. The Three Brothers are the oldest dwelling houses in Riga. One of them has a small architecture museum inside, along with changing exhibits about Latvia. edit
- Swedish Gate, Btw Torna and Aldaru iela. The last remaining gate from the old city walls. edit
- Latvian Parliament (Saeima), 11 Jekaba iela, . A rather plain building housing the Saeima, Latvia's parliament. It has had a number of uses--including as a soviet-era museum. Currently not open to visitors edit
Scary Art Nouveau designs in Riga.
- Art Nouveau Buildings. *Alberta and Elizabetes streets (iela) are the best place to see the creations of Art Nouveau architect Eisenstein, famous of his splendid style. Other Art Nouveau buildings can be seen in the area around the Freedom Monument, including the embassies on Raina Bulvaris and on Strelnieku iela. edit
- St. Jacob's Barracks, Torna iela. The primary attraction here is the last remaining stretch of city wall directly opposite the barracks. edit
- Freedom Monument, 1 Brivibas iela. Freedom Monument is one of Latvia's national symbols. It was erected during the first independence and surprisingly never taken down by the Soviets (although laying flowers at its feet was forbidden). The statue of a woman holding three stars at the top of the monument represents Freedom embracing Latvia's regions. (latitude,) edit
- Laima Clock, (Just south of the Freedom Monument). Laima is a Latvian chocolate manufacturer and means good luck in Latvian. edit
- Andrejsala. An artists' island is starting to emerge behind the passengers port a short distance north from the Old town. edit
- Āgenskalns, (Take Tram 2, 4, or 5; bus 21, 38, 39, 7, 25, 8, trolley bus 5 or 9). A very picturesque historical part of Pārdaugava, in 19th century it was a district for mansions and manors, some of which still remain (although bereft of any grounds), and some were replaced by slightly newer early 20th century residential architecture of wealthy middle and upper class. Many embassies were located there pre-WWII. (56.94025,24.0778) edit
- Āgenskalns Market, (Take tram 2 or Bus 4., 4z., 7., 8., 21., 25., 38., 39). A good example of Jugendstil, the Agenskalns market building was first started in 1911. It still operates as an authentic farmers market, you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. This is also a good starting point for a walking tour of Agenskalns city district (56.935680,) edit
- Triangula Bastion, 11 Novembra Krastmala iela #17, ☎ +371 67321206 ([email protected]), . 9AM-10PM. A modern building with an excavated fragment of the historical Riga fortification wall system along the river. The building has the best view terraces in Riga. Free. edit
- Riga TV Tower, 1 Zaķusalas krastmala, ☎ 67108643, . A 368 meter-high tower built of concrete and standing on three legs.It has an observation deck at a height of 97 metres. €3.70. edit
- Latvian Academy of Sciences, 1 Akademijas laukums, ☎ 67225361. Balcony: May-Sept: 9AM-10PM daily. Built in 1953, this building is often called Stalin's Birthday Cake because of it's austere and ornamented design. Entry to the 17th-floor terrace: €5. edit
Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
- Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Raiņa bulvāris 7, ☎ +371 67212715 ([email protected]), . This noticeable and austere black building is clearly out-of-place. In the Soviet days, this housed a museum to the Red Riflemen, a group of Latvians who volunteered for the service to Russia during the Russian revolution of 1917. Now it houses a museum of Latvia's time under both the Nazi and Soviet occupations. Very long, but very moving--essential for anyone interested in the history of the USSR or Nazi Germany. Outside the building away from the town square stands the Soviet-era Monument to the Riflemen. Free. (latitude,) edit
- Porcelain Museum, Kalēju iela 9/11, (apvienī[email protected]), . Tu-Su: 11AM-6PM; Closed on Mondays. Covers the history of porcelain in Riga through the 19th and 20th centuries. Adults: €2.50, Children: €1.00, free for preschoolers. edit
- Sun Museum, 30 Vaļņu iela, ☎ +371 67225587 ([email protected]), . 9AM-6PM daily. One of Riga's weirdest museums, it covers the history of sun mythology and its role in Latvian culture. Adults: €4.00, Students/Seniors: €3.50. edit
- Riga Castle - Rigas Pils, (Near the Northern boundry of the Old Town). The castle itself is fairly uninteresting, but it houses the following 2 museums: edit
- National History Museum of Latvia, 3 Pils Laukums, ☎ 67223004 ([email protected], fax: 67220586), . Tu-Su: 10AM-5PM, Closed on Mondays. The History Museum is interesting, however there is little English (Every room has its exhibits summarized on a single plaque). However, the museum does give a very good idea of Latvian history, and will give you a good understanding of the area. Adults: €3, Students: €1.50, Camera fee: €1.50. edit
- Museum of Foreign Art, 3 Pils Laukums, ☎ 67226467, . 11AM - 5PM TUE-SUN. The less interesting of the two museums: this is just a standard art museum. Admission fee: €3.50; Camera fee: €0.75. edit
- Museum of the Barricades of 1991, 3 Krāmu iela, ☎ +371 67213525, . 10AM - 5PM MON-FRI, 11AM - 5PM SAT. Covers the dramatic events that occurred in the tumultuous final year of the USSR, when Soviet authorities sent troops into Riga to overthrow the elected Latvian government. Free. edit
- Arsenal Museum of Art, 1 Torna iela, ☎ 67357527, . April - Sept: 11AM - 7 PM Tue-Sun, Oct - Mar: 11AM - 5PM Tue-Sun. Riga's premier museum for modern art. edit
- Museum of War, 20 Smilsu iela, ☎ 67228147. May - Sept: 10AM - 6PM Wed-Sun, Oct - April: 10AM - 5PM Wed-Sun. edit
- Latvian Museum of Pharmacy, 13-15 Riharda Vagnera, . Tue-Sat: 10am-5pm. In a renovated 18th century house. Adults: €2. edit
- Museum 'Jews in Latvia' and Jewish Community, 6 Skolas, 3rd Floor, ☎ 67283484 ([email protected]), . Su-Th: 11-5PM, Closed F-Sa. Small museum dedicated to Jewish life in Latvia since the 16th century. Includes information on destruction of the synagogues by the Nazis, and the Latvians that saved Jews during the Holocaust. Exhibits are in English and Latvian. Free, donations welcomed. edit
- Mentzendorff House, Grecienieku 18, . Wed-Sun: 11:00am-5:00pm. Former residence of a wealthy merchant built in 1720, now a museum dedicated to life in Riga in the 17th & 18th centuries. Adults: €1.50, Students: €0.75. edit
- Riga Motor Museum, Piepilsētas, Krustkalni, Ķekava district (a few km outside Riga; take bus No 12 till bus stop Sarmas or bus No 23 till bus stop Rāmava), ☎ +371 67025888, . 9am-5pm on working days. The Riga Motor Museum’s building is undergoing a major reconstruction. The whole collection of antique vehicles has been stored and can be visited in temporary premises, located in Krustkalni, Ķekava district. The collection contains more than 230 exhibits, including former vehicles of Stalin, Kruschev, and Brezhnev. €1.5. (latitude,) edit
- Riga Ethnographic Open Air Museum (Brīvdabas muzejs), 440 Brivibas (Take the A2(E77) to the East out of Riga or take bus N.1 or Tram 1, 3, 6 (but from the tram there is a 2 km walking distance).), ☎ 67994106 ([email protected], fax: 67994178), . The Riga Ethnographic Museum is in Jugla, near a lake of the same name. There are many traditional Latvian countryside houses collected in a forest/park and exhibitions inside them about the traditional things. The employees are often dressed in the traditional Latvian costumes, creating a nice atmosphere. edit
- Naive Art Museum of Latvia, Floating Arts Gallery BETANOVUSS (Next to the Stone bridge), ☎ +37126611590, . 12:00-18:00; Closed from October to May. Mission of the museum is to make an insight about naive art’s cultural processes for inhabitants of Latvia and guests, to show its importance and originality for promoting Latvians self – confidence and pride about inheritance of naive art. And also with the help of original works introduce society with the unique basic values and essential style features of naive art. free. edit
- Victory Monument (Uzvaras piemineklis), (Get off the tram at the second stop after the bridge over the Daugava). A splendid example of high Soviet art and the biggest occupation-era monument in Latvia. If you've never seen a Soviet monument before, you should really check this out. edit
- Latvian Photographic Museum, Marstalu iela 8, . Constains photos of Latvia since 1839, wih focuses on the World Wars and 1905 Revolution. €1.50. edit
- Railway Museum, 2 - 4 Uzvaras bulvaris, ☎ 67232849, . 10AM - 5PM TUE-SUN. The railway museum exhibits several collections of Soviet rolling stock. edit
- Theatre Museum (Eduard Smilgis Museum of Theatre), Eduarda Smiļģa iela 37/39 (tram #2, stop Eduarda Smiļģa iela), ☎ 67611893, . 11AM-6PM WED-SUN. Theatre museum is located in the eccentrically designed and furnished pre-war house of a former director of Riga Daile Theatre and one of the key figures in Latvian theatre of the 20th century. €0.70-3. edit
- Riga Aviation Museum, (At Riga International Airport). 10 - 4. Bored at the airport? Check out the Riga Aviation museum , which contains several rare aircrafts. 5 Euros. (latitude,) edit
The Dom Cathedral in central Riga
- St. Peter's Church, 19 Skarnu iela, ☎ +371 67229426 (fax: 67211375). St. Peters Church, dating to 1209, is Riga's oldest church. Besides its ensemble of architecture, the church has an elevator to the tower from where you can see all of Riga (service not available on Mondays). 4 Lats, 3 Lats students. (latitude,) edit
- St. John's Church, 7 Jana iela. 10AM - 5PM TUE-SAT. A smaller, less spectacular church near St. Peter's. There is a nice altar inside, and unlike most Riga churches, this one is free. The altar is from the Renaissance period and depicts the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The ceiling is from the Gothic period, and has 5 separate vaulted compartments. There is also a huge pipe organ, and many stained glass windows. This church dates back to the mid 1200's. edit
- St. Saviour's Anglican Church, 2a Anglikanu iela, ☎ 67222259, . Riga's only Anglican church has English language services every Sunday @11AM, and free concerts every Wednesday. edit
- St. Jacob's Catholic Church (Jekaba Katedrale), Jēkaba iela 9, ([email protected]), . Dating to 1226, this is one of the few Catholic churches left in Riga. At one point, it housed one of Riga's first schools. Free. edit
- Riga Cathedral (Doma cathedral), 1 Doma Laukums, ☎ 67227573. Dating to 1207, it is one of Riga's symbols. The 6768-pipe organ inside is particularly spectacular. Besides the organ, however, the interior is rather spartan, and may not be worth the entrance fee. (Currently, even the organ is being restored.) (latitude,) edit
- Riga Orthodox Cathedral. The Orthodox Cathedral was erected during Russian rule ofr Russian residents. In contrast to its relatively plain exterior, it is spectacular on the inside, but be aware that shorts are not allowed. free. edit
- Clock, (Western corner of the park). Donated by Riga's sister city Kobe. edit
- Peytav-Shul Synagogue, Old Town, Peitavas iela 6/8. 10:00-16:00, except for Saturdays. Beautiful Art Nouveau building from 1903-1905 (renovated in 2008), constructed by W.Neumann, architect of National Museum of Arts, and using lavish Egyptian, Babylonian and Phoenician decorative motifs. The only synagogue to survive the Holocaust, continued to function all through the Soviet occupation years. Currently is a center of Jewish religious life in Riga. Between the prayers can be visited as as tourist object, usually there would be someone to show around in English 3 EUR. edit
- Choral Great Synagogue, At Gogola and Dzirnavu iela. Mostly in ruins since the Germans burned it down on July 4, 1941 with 600 people locked inside. There is a memorial to 400 Latvians who saved Jews during the Holocaust. edit
- Russian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 9 Gogola iela. edit
- Grebenshchikov Church, 73 Krasta iela. An Old Believers' church. edit
- Jesus Church, 18 Elijas iela. An unusually-designed Lutheran church. edit
- Latvian National Opera, 3 Aspazijas bulvaris, ([email protected]), . A pretty building in its own right, this is also a nice place to see an opera or ballet. €5-65, depending on seat and show. edit
- Latvian National Symphonic Orchestra @ Big Guild, Amatu 6, ☎ +371 67224850 ([email protected], fax: +371 67224997), . €2-70, depending on seat and show. edit
Riga and its surroundings are popular destinations for adrenaline sports, which can be booked online, from most hostels and hotels, or from any local travel agent. The activities generally include transfers to/from your accommodation and all necessary supplies. Popular activities include bobsledding, AK-47 shooting (€40), bungee jumping from a cable car, scenic flights, canoeing, kayaking, go-karting, golfing, paintball, husky dog sledding (€40), indoor skydiving (€60), and driving a 4x4 off-road.
- Kipsala Island - just across the Shroud Bridge from the city centre.
- Lucavsalas atpūtas parks - just across Karla Ulmana, east of the city centre.
Parks and gardens
- Esplanade Park, (a block from the Freedom Monument). Designed by Georg Kuphaldt, who was expelled by Germany in 1915 as a spy because he had a telescope in his garden. edit
- Bastejkalns, Between Raina Bulvaris and Basteja Bulvaris. A small, pleasant park surrounding Brivibas Bulvaris. Sites in the Bastejkalns include a Chinese and a Japanese building, and the Bridge of Love over the Pilsetas Canal. The Bridge of Love has several locks on the railings put up by recently married couples. There is also a memorial to the two people killed here in the tumultuous events of 1991. edit
- Mežaparks, (Take Tram 11). Mežaparks(English: Forest Park) is a pleasant park area on the outskirts of Riga. There are large, gorgeous residential houses once inhabited by Riga's pre-war elite during the summers. They were largely let go during Soviet times but many are now being refurbished, repainted, and brought back to their original glory. edit
- Riga Zoo, 1 Meza Prospekts. The Riga Zoo is small, but fairly popular (latitude,) edit
Festivals and events
- Easter (Lieldienas). Egg fights! edit
- Count of May (Maija Grāfs), Spīķeru laukums, . Medieval festival. Takes place annually in mid-May. edit
- Latviabeerfest, Vērmanes garden, ☎ +371 27 726 200 ([email protected]), . Takes place annually at the end of May. The largest international beer festival in the Baltics. edit
- Jāņi. On June 24, Latvians celebrate the summer solstice with the midsummer festival called Jāņi. edit
- Latvian Song and Dance Festival (Latvian Vispārējie latviešu Dziesmu un Deju svētki), ☎ +371 28611731 ([email protected]), . An annual song and dance festival in July, with an even larger festival every 5 years. One of the key cultural events in Latvia, which started in 1873 as a singing festival. edit
- Rīga City Day (Rīgas svētki), . Takes place on 14-16 Aug edit
- International Contemporary and Video Art festival “Waterpieces” (Starptautiskais laikmetīgās un videomākslas festivāls “Ūdensgabali”), AB dambis, ([email protected]), . Festival “Waterpieces” exists from 2001 and is one of the key annual events for moving image and digital arts culture in Latvia, celebrating the intersection of film and music, and bringing a wide spectrum of the best local and international animation, video and installation art to its audience. Takes place on August. Entrance free. edit
Don't go to the souvenir shops, instead buy items like amber and wool mittens and socks in the central market or throughout Old Riga in little stands. You might haggle and get good prices for souvenirs.
During Christmas season there is a small Christmas market in the main square of old town which offers lots of festive fare and hot wine.
- Riga Central Market (Centrāltirgus), (Right next to international bus terminal, 2 min walk from Central station or Old town), . different for different parts, see website for info. Riga Central market is noticeable for its huge hangars, built from parts of actual zeppelin hangars bought for the market in 1920. The market has also a large open-air area. It deals mostly in fresh food and is a good place especially during summer for fresh local fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls that sell cheap food, clothing and accessories. It is beloved by especially Scandinavian tourists coming via ferry for its cheap cigarettes, most of which are speculated to be contraband. edit
- Taste Latvia, shopping center 'Galerija Centrs', 4th floor, ☎ +371 67104540 ([email protected]), . Open from 10.00 to 21.00 all week. Despite the slightly misleading name, Taste Latvia is a "Latvian fashion concept store", selling mostly clothes, but also accessories and items for the home, such as wooden kitchen and cooking utensils, hand-made ecological candles, and other items. The items are all from contemporary Latvian designers. If you want to take home some contemporary Latvian design, Taste Latvia is one of the best places to look. edit
- Konventa Seta, Behind St. John's Church. A former convent courtyard that now contains several touristy shops. edit
- Galerija Istaba, 31 Krišjāņa Barona iela, . Nice local artwork can be found here. There is also a small cafe/bar on the second floor with a nice, laid-back atmosphere. edit
- Stockmann, 13 Janvara iela (Near the train station), ☎ +371 67071222 (fax: 67071254), . 1st Floor: Mo-Sa 9-22, Su 10-22, 2nd Floor: 10-21 daily. The Latvian branch of the Finnish department store chain. edit
Riga, as the most vibrant and cosmopolitan city of the Baltics, offers countless opportunities to sample both local cuisine and international favorites. Latvian food can be hearty, using a lot of potato, cabbage, beef, pork and fish. A diversity of foreign cuisines is also available -- sushi restaurants in particular are in vogue.
- Lido, . A network of 8 restaurants offering decent hearty Latvian food, including desserts, at good prices. The restaurants are either cafeteria-style or feature English menus. Has vegetarian options. The following resturants are in the Lido network: edit
- Lido Entertainment Center, 76 Krasta iela (Take Tram 3, 7, or 9 to Krasta masīvs), ☎ +371 67504420 (fax: 67241168). Main Restaurant: 11AM - 11PM daily, Express Restaurant: 1PM - 11PM daily, Beer Cellar: 6PM - 12PM MON-FRI, 12AM - 12PM Holidays, Playroom: 5PM - 10PM MON-FRI, 12PM - 10PM Holidays. The wooden building features three floors of dining, a built-in wooden windmill, and a small amusement park outside. The ground floor and basement operate cafeteria-style. There is a huge choice available, including a variety of soups including borscht and the Latvian cold beetroot soup, as well as kebabs, breasts, chicken sausages, fish, red meats. Blinis are another specialty here. Cafeteria: €3.30 for a meat main course and €0.70 for a plateload of roast potatoes. Pancakes for €0.60. Top floor: Buffet for set price of €16.. edit
- Alus Seta, Old Town. Literally Beer Yard. Serves huge portions of excellent meat and two veg from a grill at the front of the tavern, as well as an excellent choice of Beer. Probably the best value place in town, with two courses easily costing less than €7. edit
- Vermanitis, 65 Elizabetes St. A fantastic range of Latvian food in "authentic" environment. Fried fish: €3, Salmon steak: €5, Half chicken: €2.50, large side of mashed potatoes or pasta: €1, 500ml beer: €2.10. edit
- Pelmeni XL, 7 Kalku (Old town), . Russian-style dumplings filled with whatever is available. Cafeteria style. Pay by the weight. Has vegetarian options €5. edit
- Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs, Peldu 19 (Old Town) (Old town). Huge beer selection with 28 beers on tap, folk dancing, live music performances, and great authentic food. €10. edit
- Čili Pica, Several locations (One near the Freedom Monument, another on the ground floor of the Stockman mall near central station), . Cheap but good pizza. €5-10. edit
- Fontaine Delisnack, 3 locations including Teātra iela in the Old Town, ☎ +371 67 250 250 ([email protected]), . A 24-hour fast food diner with an extensive menu, this restaurant chain is popular at all hours of the day and night. Try the large CB Burger for €5! Free delivery for orders over €25, otherwise there is a €3 delivery fee. edit
- Ķīpsala Island Student Cafeteria, (Ķīpsala Island). Several sets of home-like food are offered in a cozy atmosphere. Out of centre location!!!! edit
- Šefpavārs Vilhelms, Šķūņu 6, ☎ +371 67 228 214. Delicious stuffed pancakes/crepes at great prices. edit
- Smilšu Pulkstenis, Kalku iela #7. Cheap & tasty Latvian food. edit
- Varzob, 1 Ratslaukuma iela (J-2), ☎ 67211332, . Uzbek food. The plov is an excellent choice, as is the Shashlik and Lagman. edit
- Walk to Wok, Aspazijas bulvaris 30, . 10AM-Midnight. The Latvian location of the international chain of stir-fry restaurants. Choose your ingredients and watch them being cooked in a giant wok. €6. edit
- Riga Central Market. Many not expensive food and drink options, cheap russian style street food (cheburek & belash), pizza, fruits... edit
- 13 Kresli (13 Chairs), Dome Sq. Still going from Soviet times - 13 Kresli (13 chairs) has grown a bit, but is excellent, especially for tea and snacks. edit
- COD. Robata grill, Tērbatas iela 45, ☎ +371 25 725 670, . One of the best Japanese restaurants in Eastern Europe. No cream cheese rolls nonsense, only real Japanese food, and real Japanese atmosphere. edit
- Aleks @ Hotel Justus, Jauniela 24, ☎ +371 67212416, . 12AM-12PM. One of the best fish restaurants in town. Champagne Glass: €7, Bottle of Philipe Brugnon 1er Cru Rose: €47. edit
- Alus Ordenis, 15 Raina bulvaris, ☎ +371 67 814 190. Serves rural Latvian food for an eminently reasonable price. Try pork shanks or bull testicles! edit
- Fat Pumpkin, Grecinieku Iela 30/25, ☎ +371 67 304 069, . Delicious vegan food. edit
- Gardenia @ Hotel Garden Palace, Grecinieku street 28 (City centre, Old Riga), ☎ +371 67224650 ([email protected], fax: 67359749), . Noon-11PM. Mediterranean and European cuisine. Cozy and elegantly casual restaurant. €5 and up. edit
- Juffin's 12, 10 Aldaru Street, ☎ +371 67224271 ([email protected], fax: 67224272), . 11AM-11PM. Serves European and Oriental international food and has an extensive wine list. edit
- La Kanna, Terbatas Iela 5, ☎ +371 67 286 867, . Modern and cozy atmosphere. edit
- Milda, Dzirnavu 113a-103, ☎ +371 25 713 287, . Eastern European cuisine. Only 20 seats. edit
- Café Osiris, 31 Krisjanis Barona iela, . An artsy cafe with a cool interior, fireplace and pancakes worth killing for. While there, drop by Gallerija Istaba for another cup of coffee or beer, and make sure to check out some of the artwork sold downstairs. edit
- Stargorod, Republikas square 1 (In the front of Riga port, next to President Castle), ☎ +371 67 878 787 ([email protected]), . Noon-Midnight. Traditional Czech and Latvian cousine, brewery, beer, tours in brewery, entertainment. edit
- Sweetday Cafe, Tirgoņu 9 (old town), . Coffee house that serves freshly homemade cakes. It has a great cozy atmosphere, and the best service in town. The owner is Inese, speaks Latvian, English, Spanish, Russian and a bit of Dutch. edit
- Traktir (Russian: Трактиръ), 8 Antonijas iela, ☎ +371 67 332 455, . Noon-11PM. A Russian restaurant. Huge servings, great food, loads of vodkas to try out, and a Russian troubadour for entertainment. Few tourists. edit
- Vecmeita ar kaķi, 1 Mazā Pils iela, ☎ +371 67 325 077, . This restaurant and bar is a more upmarket option than Lido, serving very good Latvian food. edit
- Bergs, Elizabetes 83/85, Hotel Bergs, . The restaurant of the hotel Bergs may be just about the best that Latvia has to offer. The food can be described as a fusion of Latvian and Western European cuisine. Menus are seasonal, and the ingredients always fresh - meaning sometimes not everything on the menu is available. With impeccable food and service, it is a wonder this place has not yet received the first Michelin star of any restaurant in Latvia. edit
- Pinot, Grecinieku 26, . The restaurant next to the Museum of Latvia occupation offers a continental take on Baltic food. Menus are seasonal; check the website for the latest. The wine list is extensive, and the staff speak Latvian, Russian and English reasonably well. Menus are in all three languages. Prix fixe: €50 per person; a la carte: €14-30. edit
- Rozengrāls, . An authentic medieval restaurant in a real medieval basement in the Old Town. Serves tasty medieval foods and beverages. edit
- Vincents, Elizabetes 19, ☎ +371 67332634, . M-F: Noon-11PM, Sat: 6PM-11PM, Su: Closed. If you're splashing out try Vincents Restaurant which compares favorably to any up market western restaurant at half the price. Mains: €30-35. edit
Bar scams in Latvia
Latvia is home to a number of fraud/extortion scams in bars, run by the local mobs. A common scam, which targets men, begins by having someone you meet randomly coax you into a bar. Upon buying a drink, you will be presented with a bill for as much as €300. If you can't pay with cash, the bar will take credit cards - or you might be forced to withdraw money from their handy ATM. If you ask, you will even be presented with a menu and the €100 price listed. If you refuse to pay, the exit door will most likely be blocked by a large bouncer. To avoid this scam just enter bars recommended to you by someone you can trust (but not people randomly met).
Use your judgment when entering a bar, or check reviews of the establishment online before entering.
In addition to the independent coffee shops listed below, several international coffee chains such as Double Coffee, Coffee Inn, and Costa Coffee, have locations in Riga.
- Gallery Istaba, Krišjāņa Barona iela 31a, ☎ +371 67 281 141, . M-Sa: 12:00-23:00. Literally, room. An art gallery with a small café with 5 tables. Popular for its cozy atmosphere. edit
- Get Smart Cafe, Lāčplēša iela 43/45, . Mo-Th: 11:00-00:00; Fr: 11:00-03:00; Sa: 18:00-03:00. A colorful café with the best of 60's décor. Features parties in the evenings. edit
- Kafka, Vaļņu iela 26, ☎ +37122335131. M-Fr: 11:00-20:00; Sa: 12:00-18:00. A cozy café in a bookstore. edit
- Miit Coffee, Lāčplēša iela 10, ☎ +371 28 891 351, . M: 07:00-21:00; Tu-We: 07:00-23:00 Th: 07:00-00:00; Fr: 07:00-03:00; Sa: 10:00-03:00; Su: 10:00-18:00. Great coffee and vegetarian food, with gluten-free options. Try the pancake brunch on Saturday and Sunday. edit
Riga is a major nightlife destination for tourists and bars here are often open later than those in other European cities. On average, bars in Old Town will charge €2.00-3.00 per beer and bars outside of Old Town will charge €1.50-2.00 per beer. A specialty liquor is Riga Balsam, which is an acquired taste.
- Aussie Pub Riga, 43 Valnu Iela, ☎ +371 67223406, . Th-Sa: 10AM-3AM; Su-W: 10AM-2AM. Riga’s first Aussie pub promises to provide plenty of authentic down under atmosphere, but thankfully without any stuffed koalas, Fosters beer posters or, God forbid, any portraits of Paul Hogan. Spread out across three floors, the pub offers 12 local beers on draught for affordable prices served from a bar that’s actually an old VW combi van. Live bands play frequently in the basement and if the cheap happy hour prices are too much for you to handle you can always crash at its hostel upstairs. Beer: €2.50-3.00; Cocktails: €4.50-7.00. edit
- Cuba Cafe, 15 Jauniela, ☎ +371 67 22 43 62, . Cozy bar with DJs in the evenings. Salsa dancing on Tuesdays starting at 9PM. 2 for 1 drinks during happy hour (5PM-7PM). edit
- FolkKlubs Ala Pagrabs, Peldu 19 (Old Town), . Huge beer selection with 28 beers on tap, folk dancing, live music performances, and great authentic food. edit
- French Bar, Mazā Monētu iela 8 (Old Town), ☎ +371 67 220 353 ([email protected]), . Su-W: 5PM-6AM; Th-Sa: 4PM-7AM. One of the cheapest, smallest, and oldest bars in Riga. It is popular among foreigners and local students. TV shows international sports matches. From 4PM-6PM: 0.5L Beer: €1.00; From 6PM-9PM: 0.5L Beer: €1.50. edit
- Karakums, Lāčplēša iela 18, . Fun bar with TV and dance room. Pizzas for sale. Beer: €1.50. edit
- Kiwi Bar, Skarņu iela 7 (Old Town), . Sports bar with karaoke nights. edit
- Leningrad, Krisjana Valdemara iela 4, ☎ +37126161335 ([email protected]), . 12:00 - 03:00. Serves Latvian beers and food. edit
- Paddy Whelans Irish Pub & Sports Bar, Grecinieku iela 4, ☎ +371 67 210 150, . F-Sa: 11AM-3:30AM; Su-Th: 11AM-1AM. A popular Irish bar. edit
- Skyline Bar, 55 Elizabetes iela (On the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel), . Just perfect view at sunset. Finding a table next to the windows might be difficult after 11PM. Beer: €3-5; Wine: €5; Cocktails: €6.50-12. edit
- Kanepes Kulturas Centrs, Skolas iela 15, . Place for artisticy people and frequent gigs by indie artists. edit
Riga is known for a sparkling nightlife. There is a difference in style between 'Russian' clubs and 'Latvian' clubs.
- Amber Night @ Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Elizabetes 55, ☎ +371 29 401 431 ([email protected]), . Loaded with foreigners and women willing to meet them. 21+. edit
- I Love You, 9 Aldaru iela, ☎ +371 67 225 304, . edit
- Kalku Varti, Kaļķu iela 11a, ☎ +371 67224576, . Ground-level restaurant with nightclub in the basement. edit
- Nabaklab, Z.A.Meierovica bulvaris 12, . edit
- Pūce, Peldu iela 26 (There is no sign on the door), . 7PM-6AM. A trendy place popular with a younger crowd. The main floor has a dance floor with rock and pop music while the basement has a room with techno and/or alternative sounds. It is a very busy place on Thurs/Fri/Sat and is closed on Sun/Mon. Entrance: free + face control. Beer: €2-3, Long drinks: €4-6, Cocktails: €6-9. edit
- Push Club, Terbatas 2, ☎ +371 20 223 322 ([email protected]), . Mostly Russian, age: 20-30 years old, music - dance main-stream. edit
- Shot Café, Torņa iela 4 (Near the Powder Tower), ☎ +371 67224165 ([email protected]), . Popular with young Latvians. edit
All hotels and hostels offer free WiFi and many have computer terminals. Almost all accept credit cards.
- Riga City Camping, Rietumu iela 2, Kipsala Island (On Kipsala Island, 2.5km from the city centre), ☎ +371 67065000 / 67067519 ([email protected]), . Open May 15 to September 15. Nice facilities. Per person €3; per tent site: €6; per camper site €7-10; car parking: €3.. (N 56°,57',22.70,E 24°,04',42.20) edit
- Amalienhof Hostel Riga, K. Valdemara 49 (center), ☎ +371 2552 0099 ([email protected]), . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 11.00. In a building built in 1886. Dorm bed: €10-15. edit
- Central Hostel, E. Birznieka-Upisa iela 20, ☎ +371 22 322 663 ([email protected]), . Dorm bed: €5.25-13; Single: €17-24. edit
- Cheapy Hostel, Kaleju 48, 5th floor, . Large shared rooms. Dorm bed: €6-9. edit
- Cinnamon Sally Backpackers Hostel, Merkela 1, 3rd floor, . Dorm bed: €12-20. edit
- Doma Hostel, Mazā Jaunavu street 8, ☎ +371 67213101 ([email protected]), . Clean, safe, cheap, and in a great location. Friendly and helpful staff. Free coffee and tea. Dorm bed: €8-13.50. edit
- Dome Pearl Hostel, Tirgonu iela 4 (Old Town), ☎ +371 67212161 ([email protected]), . Friendly, English-speaking staff. Dorm bed: €9-11; Single: €20-25; Double: €28-30. edit
- Elizabeth's Youth Hostel, 103-2 Elizabetes str, ☎ +371 67217890 ([email protected]), . HI Hostel. Dorm bed: €10 (Low Season), €12 (High Season); Single: €20 (Low Season), €28 (High Season). edit
- Friendly Fun Franks Hostel, 11 Novembra Krastmala 29 (on the banks of the river Daugava), ☎ +371 2599 0612 ([email protected]), . The biggest party hostel in Riga. Australian/British/Latvian owned. Popular with Brits in Riga for stag parties, so expect a lot of guys who want to party. Dorm bed: €8.90-€12.50. edit
- Funky Hostel, 25 Krisjana Barona Iela, ☎ +371 2910 5939 ([email protected]), . Australian & Latvian owned. 24 hour reception. Dorm bed: €10-13; Single: €20-22. edit
- Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel, 50 Kaleju Iela, ☎ +371 67220073 ([email protected]), . Comfortable beds with curtains for privacy and darkness. Offers adrenalin tours, pub crawls, hockey game excursions, and other communal activities. 24-hour reception. Reception sells beer. Free shot of Riga Balsams upon check-in. Friendly staff. Dorm bed: €12-18. edit
- Posh Backpackers Hostel, Pupolu Iela 5 (Opposite the police station), ☎ +371 67210917 ([email protected]), . Despite the name, the hostel is not posh at all. Privates, doubles as well as 6, 8, and 12 room dorms. Dorm bed: €9-€10; Single: €20-30; Double: €26-35. edit
- Red Nose Hostel, 14 Jana Iela, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Dorm bed: €8.50-16; Single: €21-25; Double: €30-40. edit
- Riga Old Town Hostel & Backpackers Pub (Old Town Hostel Riga), 43 Valnu Iela, ☎ +371 67223406, . Ensuite rooms, very popular bar, sauna, and 24-hour reception. Dorm bed: €8-15. edit
- Riga Style Hostel, Alfreda Kalnina street 4 - 11. On a top floor of a 100 year old historic building. €8.50-14. edit
- Seagulls Garret Hostel, Valnu Iela 41, . Dorm bed: €9-12. edit
- Teddy Bear Hostel, 3 Vecpilsetas iela, ☎ +371 67229250, . Small and quiet hostel in the Old Town. Dorm bed: €6-8. edit
- Tiger Hostel, Raiņa bulvāris 31 (Across from the train station), ☎ +371 22 846 042 ([email protected]), . The décor is extremely ugly - even for 1970s style. Free coffee and tea. Dorm bed: €7-9. edit
- Two Wheels, 12 Baložu, ☎ +371 6746 8884 ([email protected]), . Classy hotel/hostel across the river from the old town. Dorm bed: €14. edit
- Apartment Hotel Riga, 196 Brivibas iela, . Apartments on Riga's main street. Every apartment has either two separate beds or one double, as well as a washing machine, television, gas ring, air conditioner, refrigerator, and set of dishes. €25 and up. edit
- Bellevue Park Hotel Riga, Slokas iela 1, ☎ +371 67 069 000, . edit
- Clarion Collection Hotel Valdemars, Krišjāņa Valdemāra Iela 23, ☎ +371 67 334 462, . edit
- Days Hotel Riga VEF, Brivibas iela 199c (200m from the tram stop Rūpnīca VEF, then a 10 minute ride south to Old Town), ☎ +371 6 7166000 (fax: +371 6 7166001), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: Noon. Part of the Wyndham/Days Inn chain. A great option if you don't need to be within walking distance of the center. €20. edit
- Dodo Hotel, Jersikas iela 1 (10 min from old town by tram.), ([email protected]), . Modern rooms with shower, WC, flat-screen TV, and hairdryer. French owned. Double: €32. edit
- Hanza Hotel, 7 Elijas street (Close to Riga Old Town), ☎ +371 67796040 ([email protected], fax: +371 67796044), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 3 star hotel in Riga center. edit
- Hotel Edvards, Dzirnavu iela 45/47, ☎ +371 67439960 ([email protected]v, fax: 67439959), . Newly opened in September 2008, cosy, family-run hotel in a renovated 19th-century building. €46-56 for single. edit
- Mercure Riga Centre, Elizabetes iela 101 (next to the railway station), ([email protected]), . Interesting postmodern decor based on the neighbourhood's Art Nouveau heritage. Additional charge for parking. From €60. (56.9476,24.1239) edit
- Metropole Hotel, 36 Aspazijas bulvaris, ☎ +371 67225411 ([email protected], fax: 67216140), . Not quite as centrally located as some other hotels, but still quite near Old Town. All rooms have satellite TV and minibar. €93 and up. edit
- Old Riga Hotel Vecriga, 12/14 Gleznotāju iela (Tram to Nacionālā opera), ☎ +371 67 216 524 ([email protected]), . €42-85. edit
- Primo Hotel, Nometnu street 62, ☎ +371 67454571, +371 25888777 ([email protected], fax: +371 67454572), . Modern 3 star hotel, free parking, cable TV, only en-suite rooms. Single: €35/€45 (Low Season/High Season); Double/Twin: €40/€50 (Low Season/High Season), Family Room: €70 (up to 4 persons), breakfast €5 extra. edit
- Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel, 8 / 10 Minsterejas Street, . edit
- Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa, 33 Kaleju Street, . edit
- Westa, 5 Negu Str, ☎ +37167226232 ([email protected], fax: +371 67221841), . The rooms are clean, private, safe, spacious, and have private bathrooms. Next to a market for food and clothing. Double: €32. edit
- Grand Palace Hotel, Pils street 12 (Tram 5, 7, 9 or Bus 5, 7, 25 to Nacionālais teātris), ☎ +371 67 044 000 ([email protected], fax: +371 6704 4004), . $188-263. edit
- Hotel Bergs, 83 Elizabetes iela, ☎ +371 67 77 0900 (fax: +371 67 77 0940), . Great service, modern rooms, fitness center, and a small sauna. €180 and up. edit
- Hotel Centra Riga, 1 Adeju iela (Tram to 13.Janvāra iela), ☎ +371 67 226 441, . The service here is spectacular, and the management has a habit of upgrading people for no extra charge. Flat-screen TVs and minibar. In a historic building. €80 and up. edit
- Hotel de Rome, 28 Kalku iela, ☎ +371 67087600 ([email protected], fax: +371 67 087 606), . checkin: 2 PM; checkout: 12:00. Mostly a business hotel, but this Kolonna hotel also has rooms for splurging tourists. Amenities include safe, minibar, and satellite television in every room. The hotel also has a guarded parking lot (which requires a surcharge) and a fancy restaurant at the top. Small pets are allowed. €142 and up. edit
- Hotel Garden Palace, 28 Grecinieku Street (City centre), ☎ +371 67 224 650 ([email protected], fax: +371 67 359 749), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Elegant boutique 4* hotel in the heart of historic centre with 65 comfortable guest rooms. €55 and up. edit
- Hotel Neiburgs, Jauniela 25 (Old Town), ☎ +371 67 115 522, . 55-suites. Large, clean, modern rooms. From €125, discounts with early bookings. edit
- Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, Elizabetes 73 (Tram 1, 6, 8, 10, 11 to Dzirnavu iela), ☎ +371 67 78 5555 ([email protected], fax: +371 67 78 5554), . Contemporary style. edit
- Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Elizabetes 55, ☎ +371 677 72222 ([email protected], fax: +371 677 72221), . The largest business and conference hotel in the Baltics. With 27 floors, this hotel is noticeable on the Riga skyline. edit
- Royal Square Hotel & Suites, 3A Kaļķu iela (Tram to Grēcinieku iela), ☎ +371 67 214 555, . €97-1,500. edit
Riga is a quiet city for its size and crime is very low if compared to other EU capitals. The Old Town area becomes flooded with tourists during weekends so can become a bit rowdy during the evenings, however the rest of Riga remains quiet and calm as most tourists stick to the Old Town area bars.
There is heavy police presence all over the city and if you are ever in need of an officer just head to the Freedom Monument which has a 24/7 police presence.
See the info box in the Riga#Drink section regarding common bar scams in Riga.
Maskavas forštate (Moscow district)
Maskavas is the area along the Daugava River east of the train station. Maskavas had a bad reputation due to its high crime rate, buildings in disrepair, and homeless vagrants. Overall the area has improved immensely and is now a safe place to visit or live in. It's highly questionable that the crime rate is higher in 'Maskačka' than in many other neighborhoods of Riga. Even after dark, while you might meet a drunk or homeless person, your odds of encountering a person walking her dog, a couple on a romantic stroll or a teenager whizzing past you on a skateboard are considerably higher. Obviously the common sense still applies. Check out the very nice Miera Dārzs / Klusais dārzs parks area, take in the rather unique history and architecture or join one of the many arts, theater or social activities going on there.
- Ireland, Alberta iela 13 Rīga, LV-1010, ☎ +371 6703-9370, Emergencies:+371 6703-9370 (fax: +371 6703 9371), . edit
- Greece, Elizabetes str. 11, Appt. 5 Riga LV - 1010, ☎ +371 6735-6345, Emergencies:+371 2009-3089 ([email protected], fax: +371 6735-6351). 09:00 - 17:00. edit
- Japan, Vesetas iela 7, ☎ +371 6781-2001 (, fax: +371 6781-2004), . edit
Other cities in Latvia can be visited as a day trip from Riga
- Sigulda - a resort town just over an hour from Riga by train, featuring a wooded river valley containing forest walks, cable car, bobsleigh track, and three castles, all of which is manageable as a day visitor on foot.
- Ligatne - a small picturesque town deep in the forest between Sigulda and Cesis, ideal base for a visit to both tourist centres. Just over an hour from Riga by car or train. Attractions are forest walks, tethered ferry, and disused Soviet bunker.
- Kuldiga - a small, cozy town on Latvia's West, home to famous Ventas Rumba, which is the widest waterfall in Europe (and you can actually take a swim in it in summer!). Also has well preserved medieval architecture. Valued by Latvia's artists and painters because of its unique atmosphere. 2-3 hours, 6 EUR one way. Tickets available in Riga Coach Station.
- Liepaja - city on the Western coast of Latvia, has many wooden and brick Art Nouveau buildings; includes the largest former secret military town Karosta, fortresses and a fantastic white soft sand beach.
- Jūrmala - seaside resort that was popular amongst citizens of the USSR (the word literally means seaside or beach in Latvian).
- Valka - the border with Estonia.
- Salaspils - a German concentration camp 15 km southeast of Riga.
- Tartu - a student town accessible from Riga by direct bus.
- Tallinn - the capital of Estonia; a 5-hour bus trip from Riga.
- Parnu - a beach town with old wooden houses.
- Stockholm - accessible via direct ferry from Riga; 17-hour journey
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